12 September 2011

Correspondence between the Head of the House of Romanoff and Iu. I. Pertsev, General Director of “The Fund for the Assistance of Victims of Fires, Natural Disasters, and Chance Unfortunate Happenings”

Correspondence between the Head of the House of Romanoff and Iu. I. Pertsev, General Director of “The Fund for the Assistance of Victims of Fires, Natural Disasters, and Chance Unfortunate Happenings”

The following letter was sent to the Head of the House of Romanoff by Iu. I. Perstev, General Director of the “Fund for the Assistance of Victims of Fires, Natural Disasters, and Chance Unfortunate Happenings:

“The Fund for the Assistance of Victims of Fires, Natural Disasters, and Chance Unfortunate Happenings”

INN/KPP 7220518198/772001001
Moscow, 111398, ul. Plekhanova, d. 30
Phone: 8-909-948-67-62

To the Head of the Russian Imperial House, H.I.H. Grand Duchess Maria Wladimirovna,

Concerning the fire at the Moscow State Institute of State and Corporate Management (MIGiKU)

Your Imperial Highness,

A fire struck the Moscow State Institute of State and Corporate Management on October 2, 2007, killing 11 students and crippling or severely injuring more than 40 others. Most of those affected by this tragedy were from middle-class or lower-middle-class families. Their limited financial resources have made it very difficult to pay for medical procedures, to continue with care and treatments, or to hire attorneys. One such person trapped in this dreadful situation is Iulia Tishenkova. She was 17 years old when this tragedy struck her. For many days and nights, doctors and her parents fought to save her life. Fifteen complicated surgeries and years spent in hospital beds have not broken Iulia’s spirit; they have only given her more determination. She still hopes to spend her life serving people.

After enduring this nightmare, Iulia wanted to pursue a career as a doctor—a psychologist. But, unfortunately, a written promise, previously given her by the dean of the Moscow State University of Oral Medicine, O. O. Ianushevich, concerning her acceptance into the program turned out to be only that: an empty promise. I can with confidence say that our country lost the chance to have a wonderful specialist in the field of healing and rehabilitating people who have endured painful circumstances. But Iulia’s disappointment did not stop her. A federal judge of the Kuz’minskoe district court, A. A. Anashkin, rejected her claim requesting reimbursement for emotional pain and material damages to her place of residence, and in the same ruling made it very difficult for her to pursue an appeal. Judge Iu. V. Kochetygova of the Preobrazhenskoe district court, in our view, took far too long review the case. Surgeries in Israel have racked up a bill of more than a million and a half rubles, which has produced a tremendous financial burden on her family. Four years later, and the preliminary investigation into case number 411134 has still not been resumed. From the available documents, video recordings, and eyewitness statements from students, it is abundantly clear that government agencies not only allowed the Institute’s buildings to operate in violation of fire safety regulations, but that they did not do enough at the time of the fire to rescue the students. According to P. V. Plat, the Chief Military Expert of the Ministry of Emergency Services, one of the fundamental objectives of the fire-fighting services is to preserve life. It is for that reason that firefighters are trained in the use of fire ladders. However, as events showed, people were killed or maimed throwing themselves out of fourth-story windows onto the asphalt below, not waiting for assistance from the firefighters. Even stranger than this has been the behavior of the investigators of the Investigative Committee in the Prosecutor’s Office of the Russian Federation, and that of the Moscow Police.

This fire has become known around the world because of press reports about it. The victims of this fire have repeatedly made appeals to the Office for Human Services, the Prosecutor’s Office, and other governmental agencies so that their special needs arising from this tragedy could be addressed. On April 30, 2009, a group of victims’ relatives even wrote to President Dmitrii Anatol’evich Medvedev, however the situation remains unresolved. The victims of this tragedy remain completely in the dark about what is going on in the case and whom to go to for answers.

Today, you cannot find one example of a government official even meeting with one of the victims who have approached the government for assistance. Stanislav Makarov, who moved from Tajikistan and is a category-1 disabled person, has been denied any redress of his living situation by the municipal government of the city of Moscow. S. V. Egorov, a federal judge of the Preobrazhenskoe District Court, awarded him compensation for his emotional distress that was only one tenth of that he requested in court. Iurii Bytsan, a Gagarinskii district military recruiter, whose survival in this fire was miraculous, was told simply to go back and do his constitutional duty. Dmitrii Grachev, a category-2 disabled person, was given a pension that only dooms him to squalor. And nearly all of the victims of this tragedy have found it tremendously hard to find employment.

The results of this fire at the Moscow State Institute of State and Corporate Management shows that the government not only permitted the conditions that led to the fire and the deaths of so many students in the Institute’s building, but that it is doing nothing now about ascertaining the fire’s cause, nor doing anything to identify and punish those responsible. Today, the victims of this sad event are kept in complete ignorance of what is going on in this case, have no hope that they ever will, and live in constant fear for their futures. The assurances from the country’s leaders of socially-oriented policies from the government remain, unfortunately, only empty assurances. In real life, things are much more complicated.

All of the victims are young, goal-oriented, and ambitious people. They are all just over twenty years old now. Despite all the obstacles put before them by government officials, they wish only to live fulfilling and useful lives.

Having recounted all this to you, we kindly ask you, Your Highness, to look into the face of Iulia Tishenkova and into the faces of all the victims of this tragedy, and to offer them your moral support as they set off on this hard and life-long course.

With respect,

General Director Iu. Pertsev

Her Imperial Highness wrote the following letter in response:

From the Head of the Russian Imperial House

Dear Iurii Ivanovich,

Thank you for your letter and for the documents you sent to my Chancellery.

I feel so deeply sorry for Iulia Tishenkova and for the other victims of this tragic accident, as well as their families and friends. I am very distressed that, after all the suffering they have had to endure, they must now overcome so many unnecessary obstacles and must deal with indifference, injustice, legal nihilism, and unscrupulousness on the part of those who are charged with defending their fellow citizens and providing help from the state.

Our country has always been, is, and will always be a great country. But greatness is found, first and foremost, not in external power, but in the honor and dignity of the people, in the knowledge that the state will protect their interests. Russia cannot return to its former place in the world until we all, working together, eradicate the contempt for the individual and for the rule of law that was born during the terrible upheavals of the twentieth century.

I wish you and those you care for, along with their parents, strong faith in God and in their own abilities, courage in defending their legal rights, and assurance that love and truth are always stronger than falsehood and lies.

My son and heir, Grand Duke Georgii Mikhailovich, also sends Iulia, Stanislav, Iurii, Dmitrii, and all those who suffered with them in this tragedy, his warmest best wishes.

With my warmest regards and best wishes,

H.I.H. Grand Duchess Maria Wladimirovna Madrid, September 12, 2011
Feast of St. Alexander Nevskii

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